Monday, December 28, 2009

AVATAR - A movie about Harmony

Monday, December 28, 2009
Mike Ghouse

When it comes to visual effects, Avatar is the mother of all movies. However, it could have been made in two hours without losing an ounce of amazement. This movie is a good expression of living in harmony with nature exemplified by the indigenous people of Pandora. I would see this movie a few more times to absorb the special effects, nature, harmony, romance, beauty, thoughtfullness and the message of co-existence, aka Pluralism*.

The native girl tells the hero, “you cannot fill a cup that is full”, and he responds, “it is empty”. It is one of the most powerful dialogues in the movie, in this context, she is telling him, "how can you understand us if your mind is made up of what life ought to be". His response was such a delight, when he says "it is empty", signifying that he is open to new information, that he is not biased, there is room to process the new culture without prejudice or how things ought to be done. My way is not the only way; I am open to your ways.

In another instance, she tells him to ride on the bird which was hostile to him, he asks "how do I know the brid would not kill me", she responds," if it tries to kill you, and if you earn his respect, he will give you the ride." Powerful dialogue. Mother Teresa had said, " if you want to make friends with your enemies, go talk with them". A chinese proverb says, "if you want your enemy gone, befriend him, you threaten him, he will be enemy for life". The hero captures another massive ferocious bird with the tail connection. I wish our politicians have the brains to get this and if they do, terrorism can evaporate into thin air.

One of the Rhino- look-alike animals charges at the hero, he wanted to run, she tells him to stand firmly "show no fear" and as expected the animal stops. The Monkey story has a similar conclusion, when he stares at you threateningly, and if you think of taking a back step, he reads your fear and will be all over you, whereas if you stand firmly, monkey will pause, gets frightened and backs off, that has been my experience with real monkies and monkey-like humans. This is the kind of approach we need to take with bullies in our lives, if you fear getting hurt anyway, frighten the crap out of them by taking a firm stand.

The movie talks about the universe of energy that is made up of everything within us and what surrounds us; the harmony was beautifully expressed in terms of connection the hero makes with a bird, horse like animal and the trees by aligning his tail (Ironic) with theirs. It is an example of how to co-exist with differences. It is a beautiful expression of looking the universe as uno energy, giving each component of it, its full value.

The uno energy is composed of multitudes of diverse elements living in harmony. It is comparable to the idea of “One God”; however it ought to be “oneness” rather than mathematical integer.

The idea can carry a few members of religion into fanatic frenzy of chanting “one God”, as if God is a number. The idea of one God is the multitudes of traditions living in harmony within the “larger one God”, rather than “your one” and “my one.” Event those who do not believe in God as presented by religions, can consider it as an energy that drives every thing, the system that keeps the universe in balance, the planets, and the moon orbiting the earth in precision. It is the consistent energy that pervades in one to have the feelings about others and others rights.

The movie highlights the wickedness of corporations that dehumanize life, where profit drives them to insanity; it is kind of a film on John Perkins, “Confessions of an economic Hitman”.

It shows the helplessness of many who fear the bully corporations and simply yield to the evil dictates of men despite their disdain. If Edmund Burke can be paraphrased, “the evil in the world exists and continues to exist because of good people, and not due evil men, because good men don’t do anything to stop it”.

We should have protested along with Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, had we done that, we probably would not have let our war machinery destroy others as well as bring misery to us.

There is another critical dialogue in the movie, where the commander in charge of the corporation is bent on destroying the native people by seizing their land and literally bulldozing them and saying, we are going to teach “those terrorists” and order his men to destroy them with shock and awe. As audience, we sense the ridiculousness of it, “the man had gone to their lands, to rob them and when they resist, he calls them terrorists.”

Like all movies, we get the satisfaction that there is hope and at the end of the day justice triumphs.

* Pluralism is developing an attitude of respecting the otherness of other, and figuring out how to co-exist in harmony with the given differences.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on

1/15/2013 - watching Hardball on MSNBC - Nia-Malika Henderson appear on screen, she reminded the foreheads and noses of the characters in Avatar. Take a look

Additional notes:

1. The bird attack on the helicopters reminds me of a story from Quraan where a sea of brats attacking an invading army and chasing them out.

2. The Hindu mythology had a bird called Garuda, on which Lord Krishna (or Hanuman) flew. The inverted V sign on the faces of the natives reminds me of markings in Hindu traditions.

3. I have a severe phobia of heights, my knees freeze on me... I was pleased and surprised with my knees for not freezing on me when they show the hero and heroin stand on the edges of the floating mounations and jump on the birds.

3. Sulekha has copyrights protected on this article for me.
Avatar movie review by Mike Ghouse
Avatar english movie review posted by Mike Ghouse.Write your own movie review on Avatar. ... His websites and Blogs are listed on ...

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